On the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp that killed more than a million Jews, Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum opened up Monday night’s council meeting paying tribute to…Kobe Bryant.

Surrey remains home to a large Jewish population, many whose family members were likely victims and / or survivors of the World War 2 concentration camps.

However on Monday, McCallum chose instead to pay tribute to Bryant, who died Sunday in a helicopter plane crash along with his 13 year old daughter and five other victims.

A moment of silence was held for the American NBA player, who has no personal ties to Canada or Surrey…besides playing basketball in Vancouver during his time with the LA Lakers.

Listen to McCallum’s audio below:

Speaking on Pulse Mornings Tuesday, Former City Councillor Mike Starchuk says he was gobsmacked at what he saw happening in front of him. “I could not believe we were taking a moment of silence to recognize Kobe Bryant in council chambers, as great an American basketball player as he was.”

Along with no mention of the liberation of the Holocaust, Starchuk says he was also appalled that there was no mention of the almost one-year passing of city clerk Jane Sullivan, who Starchuk called “one of the best clerks you could ever be around.”

“There was not a sniff of a mention of that woman and the great work she did in the city,” said Starchuk. “For some strange reason, on a day where there are so many other things going on, we remembered Kobe Bryant.”

Listen to the full segment here:

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